Despite the acknowledgement of functional integration as an important driver of new product development (NPD) success and the growing recognition of the significance of industrial design (ID), the integration between industrial design and other functional units in NPD has been rarely researched. In this article, we examine the marketing and ID integration in NPD in the context of China. Mainly based on Cooper's (1994) stage-gate phases of NPD process and Gupta, Raj, and Wilemon's (1985) categorization of NPD activities, we develop a conceptual framework that identifies 29 areas that might require integration or where integration might occur between marketing and ID. Specifically, we investigate and compare the current and the ideal integration between marketing and ID perceived by the two functions. An analysis of data from 113 companies reveals that the current level of integration fell short of the ideal level of integration in all the phases of NPD. Both managers believed in the descending trend of integration along the stage-gate NPD phases and were dissatisfied with the current level of integration in all the NPD phases. Except for a few areas of agreement, marketing and ID managers showed significant differences with each other in their perceptions of the current and the ideal integration in most of the 29 areas. Despite the disagreements however, the two functions agreed with each other on the most important areas that require integration and achieved the highest level of marketing-ID integration. These findings suggest that firms should improve the marketing-ID integration in all the NPD phases and that management could improve the effectiveness of marketing-ID integration by prioritizing and focusing on the most important areas. Research and managerial implications, limitations, and future research directions are presented in the paper.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation